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Complying with the Advertising Code: Tips to help pharmacists

16 July 2020

As a pharmacist, you are responsible for making sure the advertising of medicines and medical devices complies with the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code (No. 2) 2018 (the Code).

The tips below are intended to help you assess advertising for compliance with the Code. These tips do not cover everything—refer to the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 and the Code for the full legislative requirements.

These tips are tailored for pharmacists. For general advertising compliance tips, see the fact sheet 'Complying with the Advertising Code: Tips to help advertisers'. For more information please visit the advertising hub.

Price lists for medicines

Price lists for prescription and pharmacist only medicines that cannot be advertised to the public must not include promotional statements or images. The requirements for pricing information are set out in Schedule 4 of the Code (which now replaces the Price Information Code of Practice).

Supplied advertising

If you use advertising for a medicine or medical device that has been provided by a sponsor:

  • confirm, in writing, with the sponsor that it has been updated to comply with the Code
  • ensure you reproduce the sponsor’s advertising unchanged and in full
  • check your instore shelf and display advertising for compliance with the Code. Printed shelf advertising does not always need to include all mandatory statements.

Preparing your own advertising

If you are preparing your own advertising:

  • ensure any advertising is consistent with the ARTG entry or entries for the promoted goods
  • don't overstate the benefits of the goods or promote them for an unapproved use
  • be cautious with comparisons - do not suggest that comparison medicines or medical devices are inferior or harmful
  • ensure that when advertising those Schedule 3 pharmacist only medicines that can be advertised to consumers, you include the new mandatory statement: 'ASK YOUR PHARMACIST—THEY MUST DECIDE IF THIS PRODUCT IS RIGHT FOR YOU

Online purchasing

For websites that allow online purchasing of medicines and medical devices by consumers, you need to ensure you include the mandatory information set out in section 12 of the Code on each product page (except for Schedule 3 pharmacist only medicines, which need to comply with section 11 only).